A trip to the zoo inspires a week of learning

I am a firm believer in child-led learning. This week when we went to the Reid Park Zoo we saw Bayou the American Alligator.

Bayou is relatively new to the zoo and there was a keeper there to watch him and answer questions. They also had informational plaques and an alligator statue that you could go up to and touch to see what alligators are like up close.

M was very excited and wanted to know where he had come from, what he likes to eat (sadly not macaroni cheese or ice cream like her) and who his friends were. We learned that while Bayou had moved from a zoo in Texas, Alligators live in the wild in different parts of America.

This sparked a week of learning and activities all about Alligators.

M led us on a green hunt (a search for green items) and showed O the different items in our home and garden that are various shades of green. It was very sweet to watch her become the teacher.

M loves crafts so we collected some egg boxes and made our own Alligators.

They both had great fun painting the boxes outside and then M helped me cut teeth and stick eyes on. She is getting more confident at using the child scissors now.

It was interesting to see O watch and copy M when painting (and the first time he really showed interest and wanted to join in).

We also painted little clothes pegs to make Alligators. We used these for fine motor activities. M enjoyed making the Alligator peg open and close to gobble up his food!! The teeth were much fiddlier here though and I had to do this part for her. We also played with our Alligators outside in the empty water tray with some playdough and slime.

We made A our letter of the week and a was our sound. We collected different objects that started with a and I made an effort when we were out to highlight objects/people/places that started with A/a.

We read some books about Alligators at the library and we watched some videos on YouTube. It was interesting to see the information that M was able to recall day to day. We looked at a map if America and M actually remembered where Florida was (she has family there) so we talked about them and the Alligators that live there.

This is a picture M drew of the Alligator living in it's swamp. She told me there are some fish and birds for the Alligator to eat.

There is so much more that we could do with this topic and I hope to revisit it in the future. As always I welcome your ideas and inspiration. I would love for you to share ideas for activities/games/books/resources with me in the comments.

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Loving the croc with egg boxes :)
Good job mom ;)

I thank you 😀 using recycled materials makes everyone happy: Daddy likes it as it saves money, I love it because there is minimal prep involvee and I dont need to hunt down materials and the kids have fun either way!

Wow - i love the alligators you all made. Great job in making the zoo trip into a learning lesson!

Thank you 😀 we love going to the zoo, now I am just trying hard to be intentional and follow up afterwards

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